Every year, businesses send out over 124.5 billion emails, but few results in a click-through or sale. The typical opening rate is approximately 22-25%, meaning that the average response rate is even lower.
There’s no way around it: If you want to generate your prospects’ interest and make a sale, your emails need to attract the right kind of attention.
Fortunately, writing an effective sales email is simple if you follow these rules:
1. Choose a short, non-spammy subject line
This is the make-or-break point. It’s the first thing your recipient sees, so it needs to be awesome.
Note the following:
- Personalized emails have a 17% response rate, compared to just 7% for generic messages. Address your recipient by name in the subject line if possible.
- Most people read their emails on mobile devices, so keep your subject line to 4-6 words.
There’s another reason you need to nail your subject lines. If they appear spammy, recipients may report your messages to your ESP. This could damage your reputation. According to HubSpot, 69% of recipients who report email as spam do so on the basis of the subject alone.
Avoid the following words, or you may be consigned immediately to the junk folder:
- Act now
- Apply online
- Buy online
- Call now
- Click now/Click Here
- Order now
If in doubt, read your subject line back to yourself and ask, “If this landed in my inbox, would I automatically delete it?” Be honest. If it would annoy you, it’s going to annoy your recipient.
2. Start your message with a strong opening line
No one likes to receive bland sales messages. You only have a couple of seconds to grab your recipient’s attention, so make it clear why they should bother engaging with you.
Start by focusing on them, not you. Instead of beginning with “Hi, my name is…,” show that you have been paying attention to their recent business activities. Try “I saw your great post on X…,” “I read that your company…” or another opener that shows you see them as an individual, not just a sales prospect.
Whatever approach you use, do not copy and paste a generic sales pitch. If you start with “Good morning, my name is X and I represent company Y,” it’s unlikely that they will bother reading to the end of your message.
Instead, try to engage them on a personal level by asking them questions about their industry, using sincere compliments, referencing to mutual contacts, and mentioning relevant case studies.
3. Write concise, charismatic copy that urges a call to action
Once you’ve hooked your recipient, the next task is to convince them to take action. This might be buying a product, scheduling a call, or making a request for further information.
Here are a few tips:
- Don’t make your messages too long. A message in the range of 50-125 words, or around 20 lines of text, is likely to yield the best response.
- Position yourself not as someone who is looking to sell a product, but as an expert or consultant who understands the person’s problems and wants to offer a solution.
- Make your request highly specific. For instance, it’s better to ask a prospect whether they are free for a telephone call next Monday at 3 p.m. than whether they’d like to talk “soon.”
- Do not assume that you have the writing skills to create a high-quality copy. Use a content creation service such as Trust My Paper instead.
- Use humor – it shows that you are human, and makes you more likable. However, keep it PG rated. You don’t want to inadvertently offend a prospect.
- Use the number three. Research shows that humans like three choices, as opposed to two or four. Use this to your advantage by breaking your text into three paragraphs, offering three potential meeting times, and using three words to describe a product.
- Moderately positive or negative emails boost response rates by 10-15%, so don’t be afraid to write copy that triggers emotion.
- Use words that a third-grader could understand, and err on the side of informal rather than stuffy.
- Include social or statistical proof if possible. For example, you could tell them that you recently boosted another company’s social media following by 130%, or that your services come highly recommended by a leading name in the field.
4. End with the right closing statement and an appropriate sign-off
- End on a positive note that urges a call to action. “Please let me know what you think,” “I’d love to know if we could help you make your next campaign a success,” or “I’m looking forward to learning more about your new product launch” all convey a sincere interest in a prospect’s situation.
- If they have recently enjoyed a major success, you could reference it towards the end of the email. For example, “Again, congratulations on your recent award” would be well-received by most business owners.
- “Thanks in advance,” “Thanks,” and “Thank you” are the three most effective ways to close an email. As a general rule, sign off with an expression of gratitude for best results.
- Do not use inspirational quotes. They will only annoy your recipient.
- Use a clear typeface, and avoid those that simulate handwriting.
- Include links to your social media profiles. The recipient may want to research you online before responding, so give them the opportunity to see you at your professional best.
5. Split test your sales emails
Finally, make it your mission to continually refine your email strategy. A few minor tweaks can make a big difference, so don’t be afraid to A/B test two or more versions of a sales email.
For instance, amending your subject line or experimenting with the length of your messages can greatly increase (or decrease) your opening and conversion rates.
You should also experiment with the time of day or week you send emails. Scheduling them just a few hours earlier or later could inspire more recipients to take action. Adjusting your email marketing strategy is well worth your time – get it right, and your bottom line will speak for itself.